Monday 19 August 2019

Apple 'eyeing deal' for Intel modem unit

 

Apple's latest iPhone models currently use modems sourced exclusively from Intel
Apple's latest iPhone models currently use modems sourced exclusively from Intel

Apple is negotiating to buy Intel's struggling cellular modem unit, a person familiar with the matter says.

A deal would give Apple key engineering talent and patents that would help it develop new devices to connect to the mobile internet. The Intel assets could be valued at about $1bn (€897m) in a transaction, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the matter was private.

An agreement could be reached as soon as this week, though it is possible talks could break down without a deal, the person said.

Representatives for Apple and Intel declined to comment.

The negotiations were reported earlier by the Wall Street Journal.

Apple is building its own cellular modems for devices like the iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch, in part to eventually reduce its reliance on buying parts from Qualcomm and others.

Apple's latest iPhone models currently use modems sourced exclusively from Intel, but the company settled its long-standing royalties lawsuit with Qualcomm in April, amid plans to sell 5G iPhones in 2020.

Qualcomm's 5G modems are widely regarded to be superior to those from Intel. However, Apple's licensing and royalties agreement with Qualcomm ends in six years, and Apple appears intent on eventually replacing the Qualcomm parts with modems developed internally.

A deal with Intel could be similar to Apple's agreement to pay Dialog Semiconductor $600m to take over its power management business, the provider of another key component for Apple's devices. Intel currently provides modems for Apple's 4G LTE iPhones.

The move comes as leaks indicate that Apple is set to release three new iPhone 11 models in September.

The new phones will not use USB-C, instead sticking to the devices' traditional 'Lightning' power port.

They will feature three cameras on the back, with the introduction of a new wide-angle variant.

The new phones will also feature so-called 'taptic engines' and retina displays.

It means that there will only be a handful of iPhones left that use fingerprint touch-ID sensors, rather than face-ID facial recognition.

Apple is the second biggest phone manufacturer in the world, vying for that spot with Huawei.

Bloomberg

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